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Friday, October 16, 2009

Finally a Defense of Obama's War With Fox News

There was something remarkable that occurred after Anita Dunn publicly took on Fox News this past weekend. Even his supporters saw this as foolish. The Nation magazine called the president Whiner in Chief as a result. New York Magazine said that Obama was arming his political enemies. The Daily Telegraph called Obama silly. In my unscientific scan of the media, I found no media that defended Obama in his full frontal assault on Fox News. So, I was surprised and interested when I found this opinion piece in the Huffington Post. Sure the Huffington Post is even farther left than Obama himself but so is the Nation, and they called him a whiner. The article starts with a long history of Presidents taking on the media and the minefields this creates. Still, the author thinks that Obama taking on Fox News is a good idea.

Then, it was clear why. Their view of the world is totally perverted. Let's start with this assertion.

Even in the early years of both CNN and later Fox News, there appeared to be an ambiguous, but tolerable liberal and conservative tug of war within the cable news industry. The three major broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC were generally middle of the road, with certain exceptions on various issues in which they could be viewed as being liberal or conservative. However, with the rise of conservative talk radio, and the patently incestuous relationship between the second Bush administration and Fox News, the ideological media equilibrium has been completely jarred.

If you think the three major networks are middle of the road, then I can see how you'd also see that Fox News is nothing more than a propaganda arm of the Republican Party. If your view is so perverted that you think the three networks are objective, then of course, you'd see Fox News as nothing more than propagandists. The lunacy continues from there.

Fox News provides 24 hour anti-Obama, anti-Democrat, and anti-liberal coverage and opinion. No other major news network provides such one-sided coverage in favor of an alternative political and ideological agenda to Fox News. Even MSNBC provides a balance with conservative Joe Scarborough's morning show, and the blue-dog liberal Ed Shultz in the evening. But even MSNBC is not a round-the-clock slugfest against conservatives and right wing ideologues.

If you think that Ed Shultz is a "blue dog" Democrat rather than a traditional liberal, then I can see how anyone to the right of Shultz could then be viewed as a right wing ideologue. If you see Shultz as merely a skeptical supporter rather than a fawning supporter then of course Fox News could easily be viewed as nothing more than an arm of the Republican party.

At one point, the author scolds Fox News for not even giving Obama a "hundred day honeymoon". Think about that. He criticizes Fox for not waiting one hundred days to begin to look at Obama's policies critically. Even in normal times, such a statement is stunning. Media are never supposed to go easy on the people they cover. These aren't normal times. In the first hundred days, the president passed a $787 billion stimulus. According to the author, Fox News was supposed to go along because that was his "honeymoon".

Then, the article goes into typical liberal talking points against Fox News.

Instead, ever since the Presidential Inauguration, Fox News has been targeting the White House through its pundits and professional demagogues like Hannity, Beck, and O'Reilly. Indeed, Fox News' current role as the opposition news network has completely tipped the broadcast equilibrium which existed during the nostalgic pre-cable days of television.


Today, Fox News serves as the news militia for the right wing of the Republican Party, with its investigation of liberal community organizations such as ACORN, with its defamatory coverage of the first Hispanic Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor, and by its incitement of mob-like opposition political rallies against the President and his domestic agenda this past summer. No similar investigations of Republican Senator Ensign's sexual improprieties have graced the coverage of Fox News. It is empirically known that Fox News chronically invites prominent members of the Republican party such as Newt Gingrich, former Bush advisor Karl Rove, former Senator David Santorum, and Clinton antagonist Dick Morris to give the air of credence to very important issues without debate or challenge. To the contrary, in those rare moments that liberals or democrats make their negligible appearances on Fox News, they are viciously attacked with the ferocity of a pack of pit bulls.

First of all, all liberal opponents of Fox News make it seem as though Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are on Fox News 24 hours a day seven days a week. They aren't. In fact, between first runs and re runs, they're on 7 hours out of 24 during the week. That's a small minority and no critic of Fox News ever talks about Greta Van Susteren, Shepard Smith, Brett Baier, and their entire daily line up which is always played straight. In fact, ask the typical conservative and most have no use for Smith, who most see as liberal. That's probably a sign that Smith is fair.

Furthermore, liberals always like to point to every conservative that is a contributor to Fox News but fail to mention that Fox News has just as many liberal contributors. Yes, Fox has Newt Gingrich. I'd say the former Speaker is a huge coup. They also have Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis, Bob Beckel, former campaign manager for Walter Mondale, as well as Kirsten Powers, Juan Williams, Alan Colmes, Ellen Ratner, Dr. Mark Lamont Hill among many liberals also contributing to the network. Of course, it's just a flat out lie that Fox News didn't cover the Ensign affair. They did and they still do. Just because Fox News covers stories the rest of the media won't doesn't mean they don't cover stories the rest of the media does as well.

It's not surprising and ironic that a piece that accuses Fox News of propaganda is itself so full of propaganda. Still, to defend Obama in this case, it appears the only way to defend is through propaganda.


FourMartins said...

David Santorum?

mike volpe said...

I'm sure he meant Rick but you don't correct a quote. He said David Santorum and that's the quote.

Anonymous said...

You can use [brackets] to correct a quote or use (sic) to indicate what the speaker is saying is wrong.

In any case, its ALL rhetoric and propaganda. They will believe what they think they see, you will believe what you think you see. And the media will do what makes them money all the live long day. Or at least, what they think will make them money. I'm just so sick of hearing people complain about media bias, its like blaming the refs when you lose the game.